From a 55 to a 75
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:38 PM   #1
Jedi940
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From a 55 to a 75


Thought I'd try to start a journal and keep it updated as I move from a 55 gallon tank to a 75. I also have a 30 gallon tank I will be combining as well. I have had a 55 gallon planted tank for about a year and a half and am finally moving up to a 75 gallon. Currently I am using floramax/flourite mix of substrate with drift wood as well as 2 amazon swords, wisteria, anacharis and a couple other plants I don't know the name of.
Filtration is 1 Whiper 60 and a penguin 330.
Lighting is a crappy aqueon dual t5 48" fixture.

Stock 55 gal:
6 corys
1 blue gourami
1 german blue ram
7 neon tetra
1 L129 columbian Zebra Pleco
2 guppys
3 ottos

Stock 30 gal:
3 red and blue tetra
1 gold ram
2 corys
1 guppy

I am making a lot of changes to this and correcting some problems.

First I just ordered a rena XP3 canister filter today as I am trying to cut back on the noise and number of things in my tank. I will also be getting an inline heater later on.
In addition to this, I want to make water changes a breeze as I have been carrying buckets till now and am tired of that. I plan to get a hose and insert a T pipe in the hose going to the canister filter so I can drain the tank easier. I am still working on how to fill it back up but that will probably be a DIY waterchanger.
I also want to upgrade my lighting but keep it low enough that I don't need to add CO2. Based on the chart here I believe I will be going with a single 48" T5HO light from Catalina and sit it right on top of the aquarium. LINK
I'm also battling a bad alge problem and nothing is growing very well (especially my swords) and I want to determine what the problem is. Im hoping less surface agitation, better flow and maybe an occasional dose of excel will help.

Things I haven't decided yet are:
1. What to cover the tank with. I have glass hoods for my 55 but they aren't deep enough for the 75. Thinking about just a screen. Fish jumping out are a concern.

2. Exactly what light to use. Not sure if I should go with 1 or 2 lights from Catalina or just go cheap and get some shop lights like the home depot diamond lights that are suggested so often or come CFLs in Dome fixtures.

3. Whether to just transplant my substrate and add a little extra to accommodate the larger tank or whether to change it altogether.

Suggestions are always welcome. I will post current pictures of My current tanks within a day or so.

The first step is building a Stand out of 2x4s. I got the idea from This post and will be making something similar and painting it black with doors. I will post updates as things progress.

Last edited by Jedi940; 03-28-2013 at 11:40 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:43 AM   #2
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I have a 75G myself and bought a Coralife fixture (dual T5 not HO, only 46 watts total I think). I keep the light on 8 hours a day and have decent growth from my plants. Also, my substrate is a mix of regular gravel and eco. No tops for my tank either, but I don't have any fish that would jump.
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:58 AM   #3
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I swapped from a 55 to a 75 gallon on March 9. See vids in my signature.

I am using the 3x54W Catalina fixture. Highly recommend their light. individual reflectors, great service, quality product. Sounds like you are trying to stay in the Low/Med light with a single T5HO. I would recommend you get the light fixture legs http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/stor...oducts_id=1339 and go with an open top.

The XP3 is another great choice. Just swapped my XP1 for an XP3 a couple weeks ago. *Disclaimer, I also run a Fluval 306 on the tank.

Sounds like you are diagnosing your algae problem and want to stay away from Co2. If there is no way to talk you into a Co2 system, I have just one word....EXCEL. Use it daily, not occasionally. Also, you mentioned nothing about your maintenance routine, so i am going to suggest a couple of 30% water changes each week. Perhaps plant more plants to out compete the algae. Additional water movement helps with some types of algae as well.

Good luck.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:43 AM   #4
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Yea, I have fish that would jump. The red and blue tetra zoom to the surface pretty quick during feeding and I have already lost one gourami that jumped out of a tote when I was changing my tank the first time.

As far as my algae problem, I'm not exactly sure what the problem is but by leaves are all black and I have a lot of black fuzzy algae growing on my filter intakes and at the tips of the leaves too. I think it might be not enough CO2 and flow. Also, I'm not ruling out the possibility of using CO2, I just want to keep maintenance to a minimum as well as cost. I don't want to go so high tech that I have to constantly spend money just to keep the tank running. That is why I am building my own stand and will probably build my own spraybar.

Still on the fence about the Catalina lights. I'm not saying they aren't great but they are expensive.
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:26 AM   #5
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First things first. I always start off every new tank I buy with a nice full load of bleach. This allows me to make sure that there are no leaks and that everything that is not fish friendly is dead. I let this sit overnight just to be sure.




While this was soaking, I managed to get my stand built. It took Thursday Evening and another 7 hours today.

I only needed three 10 ft. 2x4's and two 8 ft pieces. I also used one 12 ft tongue and groove piece for the doors. I bought extra for my dad and as a "just in case."



I had done all the figuring earlier in the week so I would know exactly what to cut out of each piece. After all the 2x4's were cut, I laid them out in the basic design to see how everything lined up. I did make one small mistake in the beginning by cutting on the wrong side of my line but I just put that piece in the back :



After making sure everything lined up I used wood glue and 2 3/4" screws to hold it all together. I used deck screws so they will never rust.



After getting the frame together I cut the boards for the doors and glued them together and set them in to see how it looked. As a bonus, the tank fit perfectly.



For the sides and floor I just used some extra boards that we had laying around. The only thing left to do at this point was slap on a fresh coat of black paint.



Also, you may have noticed that the tank had a "wood" frame on it. I also taped that off and painted it black to make sure it all matched. Hopefully it will be dry by tomorrow.
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Old 03-30-2013, 02:46 AM   #6
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Also as promised, here are the pictures of my 2 current tanks. First is my 55gal which has been running for about a year and a half. So far I am really happy with it. I like the substrate I chose and the selection of plants. I had always planned on doing some type of carpet in the beginning but abandoned it after realizing how low light it actually was. I will be ordering many more plants for my 75 gallon but I haven't decided what they will be yet. My swords used to be much bigger. I recently cut them way back because they stopped growing. This sparked some new growth but it has stagnated. I have decided to leave them alone until I get them moved.



Here is a shot of the algae I am trying to get rid of.



Hopefully some Excel and more water movement will help with this.

Next is my 30 gallon. This was set up because I wanted a second tank and I used my left over materials from my 55 gallon that started out looking very similar to this . . . At least until I found out how much better live plants were.



This pic is from a while ago before I put any fish in it but it really hasn't changed. This is my gold ram and my 2 corys that call this tank home.



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Old 03-30-2013, 03:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: From a 55 to a 75

I just made the jump from 55 to 75. It's a glorious feeling to have so much footprint to play with.

I am Rowdaddy.
SC Aquaria

75 Community
20H Community
20L Convict "Bedroom"
20L Growout
10gal RCS
1.5gal in progress
55 gal Paludarium/Vivarium coming soon
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:36 PM   #8
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Yea, I really looking forward to the bigger footprint. Can't wait to have some depth to my scape. Trying to decide on lighting right now. Don't think I'm gonna go the LED route although I may end up doing a DIY moonlight later on because I really like that idea. I never see my L129 pleco because he always hides during the day.

Headed to Lowes and Menards later today to check out lighting fixtures. Looking for either the equivalent to the Home depot diamond fixture mentioned often here or the dome shop lamps for CFL bulbs.
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: From a 55 to a 75

Diamonds are forever! Lol

I am Rowdaddy.
SC Aquaria

75 Community
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20L Convict "Bedroom"
20L Growout
10gal RCS
1.5gal in progress
55 gal Paludarium/Vivarium coming soon
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:41 AM   #10
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Got back from Menards today and picked up 3 clamp lights and some 23w CFLs.



Looking at the light output from these, I will probably suspend them over the tank about 6 inches. I will also need to come up with some sort of mounting system. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:13 PM   #11
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While I'm waiting for my filter to come in I have been doing some research on substrates. I currently have floramax in my 55 gallon and will most likely be moving that. I am trying to decide between using more floramax, adding the midnight black floramax to darken the substrate, or using the floramax as a cap for some dirt. My biggest question about dirt is how you add plants and root tabs or even re-scape with a capped substrate without completely making a mess. I may start a new thread to ask this question.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:43 AM   #12
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Default Re: From a 55 to a 75

I would darken with some midnight Floramax.

That's why i don't use dirt. Lol Seems like a pain to me.

I am Rowdaddy.
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1.5gal in progress
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi940 View Post
My biggest question about dirt is how you add plants and root tabs or even re-scape with a capped substrate without completely making a mess. I may start a new thread to ask this question.
I don't use dirt for this very reason. It is not necessary and it makes too much of a mess for my liking. I'm not saying that dirt isn't a good substrate, I just prefer my tanks stay sparkling clear all the time.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:09 PM   #14
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The Midnight black floramax is the way I'm leaning and my local Pet Smart has a sale on it right now. Plus I think it will help make the plants pop a little more. I do want dirt for the plant growth but I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to that right now. I may try it later in a 20 gallon so if i decide I don't like it its not a huge deal.

In other updates, I got my tank fully cleaned out and put on my (finally dry) stand only to find out that I'm not the worlds best carpenter. My stand isn't quite level on the top so I will most likely have to plane down one end a bit. Either that or put some shims in. Either way some more painting is going to be in order. That is going to be tonight's project I hope.

Also a preliminary list of plants I was thinking about ordering are as follows:
2 Brazilian Pennywort (hydrocotyle Leucocephala)
3 Wisteria (hygrophila difformis)
3 Red Tiger Lotus (nymphaea zenkeri)
1 Corkscrew Vallisneria (vallisneria americana var. biwaensis)
2 Dwarf Sagittaria (sagittaria subulata)
1 Vallisneria spiralis 'Leopard'

Still need to do some research on them and decide if the conditions will be right but that is the preliminary list. Still on the fence about CO2. Researching about both DIY and pressurized methods. Mostly looking into the cost to maintain. I do not want a huge monthly expense between CO2 and ferts.

Will try to post some pics of my leveling job tonight if I have the time.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:40 AM   #15
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Well its been a few days since my last update. I decided to stick with floramax for my substrate and picked up 2 more bags of black and 1 of the normal. I also added feet to the bottom of my stand to help make it level. I just used some left over 2x4s and cut off 6 pieces and glued them to the bottom of the 6 vertical supports. I used hot glue because wood glue takes forever to dry and as thin as the pieces were, nails would have just split them.

Here's a shot of my tank currently. I just have the lights clamped on the edge for now. I was experimenting with different ways to slop the substrate.


Also my filter system finally after a shipping delay. I hooked it up to my 30 gallon and put the bio sponges in the second tray to prevent a re-cycle.


I need to order more biological filters for it as it only comes with about 5 ceramic stars - pretty useless. Haven't decided what to get here yet. I will try to be better about taking pictures as I get the stand put together. I have been busy just trying to get my stand level and painted I haven't thought about much else.

Next up will be hanging the lights. I know I want to be able to adjust them but I'm not sure exactly how I am going to hang them. I might borrow an idea from another thread and use conduit that comes up the back and curves over the top. Then put a cross bar between them and hang the lights from that with lightweight chains.
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